The dramatic 30 percent tariff the White House plans to impose on imported Steele isn’t a misspelling of the word steel, White House Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said today at her daily briefing.
“We think Steele is harmful to the United States and we are absolutely trying to discourage it from coming into the country by imposing what we think is a completely justified tariff on it,” she said.
“Allowing Steele into the United States, with no restraint, paying no price, is a fast-track way to trouble,” Sanders added. “That’s President Trump’s view. He wants to curb it. And he has the authority to do that.”
Analysts say imposing a steep price on Steele, which is a specialty of the United Kingdom, will hurt relations with the U.S.’s single most important ally and will almost certainly invite retaliation. “If we curb Steele, why should our ally trust us going forward?” asks Melanie Nissam, a former federal analyst familiar with Steele who now consults in private practice. “If the President has a problem with Steele, he needs to find another way to deal with that because he should’t put our country at risk by trying to keep it out.”
Nissan added that Steele has been credited with providing value to the United States prior to being targeted by President Trump. “The Obama Administration found Steele to be particularly helpful and so has Republican-appointed leaders of several U.S. agencies,” she said. “It’s confounding that suddenly Steele is considered something that should be kept out of the country. I know many agencies, even in the current administration, find Steele not only useful but even integral to the future of our country. I can only guess keeping it out is a political move by the President because from a broader perspective, we need Steele and we need it as much as possible.”
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